South Dakota’s Supreme Court Rules Against South Dakotans

Facebook Created with Sketch. Twitter Created with Sketch.

November 30, 2021
Media Contact:
Britton Lee / 
[email protected]

WASHINGTON, D.C. — After gaining the support of 54% of South Dakota’s voters in 2020, the South Dakota Supreme Court has voted to nullify the state’s measure that would have legalized recreational cannabis use. 

Ballot Initiative Strategy Center Executive Director Chris Melody Fields Figueredo issued the following statement: 

“We are disappointed to see the will of the people being undermined because of arbitrary restrictions on the ballot initiative process. 

“This decision was based on South Dakota’s single-subject rule, which did not exist until 2018 when the state legislature took action to create it. The single subject rule is used to stifle the voice of the People by limiting what voters can bring to the ballot, a common feature of a broader effort to weaken the ballot initiative process around the country. It is the latest, in a long list of examples of power-hungry special interests, who aim to wrest control of the lawmaking process from the very people these laws will govern. They are using a web of technicalities to thwart progress in states where the People are using the ballot measure to make immediate positive change in their lives. 

“The measure that was just struck down rallied the support of over 250,000 South Dakotans—a healthy majority of voters. They understood  the subject on the ballot. They supported it. That’s why they voted ‘yes.’ This rule isn’t about protecting voters, as some proponents claim, it’s about making it harder for their voices to be heard. South Dakota was the first state to adopt the citizen initiative process, and this effort erodes a fixture of democratic governance that began over a century ago.

“South Dakotans deserve to have a voice in the laws that govern them, and we will not rest until politicians and special interests respect the people’s power.”